5 Mistakes I Want to Stop Making in 2017

Well 2016 has been a complete shit show, hasn’t it?

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to harness my rage and light 2016 on fire. Perhaps then I will be ready to drag 2017 out of the ashes and start kicking some ass.

Speaking of which, do you make New Year's’ Resolutions? I don’t. I hate them with a passion. For me, the only thing worse than making a New Year’s resolution is the inevitable pit of despair I find myself in about 3 weeks later when I failed to do all that yoga. or kale eating. or push ups. or... ok I'm gonna stop now. 

But you wanna know what I do love? Planning. I plan the f*ck out of my life. This past week I’ve been on a coffee & planning retreat (as in, locked up in my office), and it’s been fabulous. It went a little somethin' like this >>

This is not an exaggeration. I first use scratch paper and have a sketch notebook for drafts, and for 2017 I have 3 separate planners (I'm going to show proof to the super cool people on my email list. You should totally join if you haven't already).


Curious about what planners I have? 

The point is...

There's a lot coming in 2017

Now that my planning is complete, I am excited to say I have big plans for this year. Free webinars, blog posts, free email courses, online courses, and comics are all on the table, and I can't wait to get started.

Make sure you let me know what you'd be most interested in. It may sound corny, but I'm honestly not just doing this for me. My ultimate goal is to bring together a whole community of social change agents out there delivering more visual and effective presentations. A community of people who not only use research, evaluation, and advocacy to fight social injustice (which we should be preparing for given the upcoming administration), but want to do more to get that work out to the world in a more effective and accessible way.

Because I strongly believe we have a responsibility to do all that we can to help people will pay attention, understand, and use our work if we want to have a broader, more positive impact.

If you're reading this, I hope you see yourself as being part of this community. If so, make sure you hop on my email list. You'll be the first to know about these upcoming activities, get access to exclusive visuals & tips, and just in general know you're an awesome game changer when it comes to visual communication strategies. 

5 Mistakes I want to stop making in 2017

OK, so I plan all year round, but I also practice reflection a lot. The end of a year is a perfect time to reflect about what worked and what didn’t. You can't replicate success if you don't know why you were successful. Likewise, you can’t fix what doesn’t work unless you identify the problem first. So now is the time for me to reflect on the mistakes I made, and what I want to fix for 2017. 'Cuz like I said--I have a lot of plans for 2017.  And I know I won't follow through with them if I keep making these same mistakes. 

Mistake #1: I perfected my excuse-making skills

Good lord I’ve become an expert on making excuses and I need to stop it. I don't think I've ever made more excuses to get out of doing things in my life. Maybe it's residual exhaustion from grad school or something, but I've pretty much had enough of it at this point. 2016 was full of gems such as:

Oh what’s that, it’s time for dinner? I guess we better chop up some--TOO TIRED, GET PIZZA.

Sorry, did you say it’s been 6 whole weeks since I vacuumed? Well I did say I would do it--TOO BUSY, MUST WATCH ALL OF FROM DUSK 'TIL DAWN TONIGHT.

Are those sad puppy eyes begging to go for a walk? SORRY TOO COLD, MUST MAKE HOT COFFEE.

Mistake #2: My bike and hiking sticks grew cobwebs

I feel like crap and it's because I got lazy. We barely went for any hikes or bike rides this year. I mean, I guess it's more than we ever would have done in Chicago (my home town, for my new friends). But, WAY LESS than I wanted to this year. That's especially frustrating because we pretty much moved to Colorado so we could be more active. 

Mistake #3: My side of the couch has a permanent dent

I don't even want to know how much of my time was spent sitting on my couch last year. It’s probably a horrifying number that would make me feel bad about myself, so there’s no real need to actually calculate it. But it's bad enough that I had a blood test this year and was low on Vitamin D. As a reminder, I live in DENVER. (Side note #1: My protein was awesome and I've been a vegetarian for 4 years SO HAH!). 

Mistake #4: I have nothing good left to put on my Netflix list

What did I do while sitting on my couch, besides the obvious of not going out for a hike? Did we replace that with staying on top of chores and laundry? Did we replace it with cooking healthier meals or training the dogs to do new tricks? lol please refer to mistake #1.

No, there wasn't any of that. Instead, we watched A LOT of Netflix. Most new shows were binge watched within 2-3 days. Please tell me we aren't alone in this. The daily pattern went as follows:

  1. Wake up
  2. Resent being awake so early
  3. Drink coffee
  4. Go to work
  5. Come home, grabbing pizza or burritos on the way
  6. Netflix
  7. Sleep

Side note #2: My favorite show this year was From Dusk 'til Dawn and the fact that it's the last (confirmed) season is yet another reason 2016 is the worst year ever. What was your favorite show?

Mistake #5: I had no passion project or side hustle, and I didn’t make any comics

About 4 years ago I started a blog and made comics for it. It was sooooo much fun and I made a lot of great friends. I shut it down a couple years ago for a few different reasons (a big one being that I moved across the country and started a Full Time Job). But, this year I really started to miss it--especially the creating comics piece. Yup, you guessed it, that's exactly why I started this website (you're such a smarty pants). 

Oh, and I guess I something about how I'll fix these mistakes...

Well, I did get THREE planners. So. Yeah. I'll either stay on top of life and make good things happen, or spend most of my time trying to coordinate goals and plans across 3 planners. Your guess is as good as mine. 

Thanks for reading. Make sure you leave a comment or, better yet, chat with me on twitter, instagram, or facebook!

with joy,

Before you go ... 

If you enjoyed this post and are interested in learning more about visual and effective presentations, be sure to sign up for my email list. You'll be the first to know about these upcoming activities, get access to exclusive offers, and just in general know you're an awesome game changer when it comes to visual communication strategies. >>

Thanks for reading!

with joy,
Dr. Echo Rivera